Fox’s much anticipated new Prison Break limited series reunites key cast members from the original series including Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Robert Knepper. The cast was on hand at this year’s San Diego Comic Con to present a panel in which they answered questions from fans of show. They also participated in roundtable interviews to further discuss the new series which will air in 2017.
During our interview, Miller discussed getting back into his Prison Break character, Michael’s son, the new tattoos he’ll be sporting, the new prison, and why both he and Dominic Purcell agreed it was the right time to revisit the brothers in a series.
Wentworth Miller Interview:
Given the definitive ending you gave Michael Scofield in the wrap-up movie The Final Break, did you ever expect you’d play him again?
Wentworth Miller: “I hadn’t given it much thought, but when I was reunited with Dominic on the set of The Flash, playing two different characters completely, we had such a good time. It was out of that conversation that we started to wonder is there more story to tell? How is that justified? Could we do it in a way that was cool and satisfying? Then went to Fox and it turns out they’d been having a similar conversation on their end. The timing was right, as it turned out.”
Did the timing coincide with Captain Cold’s death on Legends of Tomorrow?
Wentworth Miller: [Laughing] “I’m not sure that the two were connected but we did have to work with the Legends hiatus. That was our one window in which to crank out these episodes. So we did everything we could in the time allowed.”
How easy was it for you to get back into that character?
Wentworth Miller: “It was easy, thank goodness, because going right from Legends to Prison Break, I did not have time to go back and watch the original 81 episodes. I just had to trust that Michael Scofield was in me somewhere. My first day on set there were a lot of extras, three different cameras swirling around, there was a lot to distract but all I had to do was look through the bars and pay attention to Dominic. That was somewhere to anchor as he has been, as that relationship has been for a long time.”
Do you feel more of a sense of closure for Michael or do you feel there’s still more story to tell in this case?
Wentworth Miller: “I feel like there could be more story. It really depends on is it worth telling? Is this something that can stand alongside the original, not feel like diminishing returns? I don’t think you can explore a character like Michael Scofield on the big screen. That can only be done on the TV. I have such love and respect for that character that when Paul Scheuring first came to me and said, ‘There’s more. Would you be interested?’ The answer is yes.”
How is the new prison in this new season compare to the prison in season one?
Wentworth Miller: “The new prison makes the original prison look like the Hilton. It is kill or be killed, danger around every corner. That is part of the excitement of the new series is that we’ve upped the stakes in every sense. In the original, the U.S. was our canvas. Our canvas is now global. The threat is international.”
Tone-wise and production-wise, what has changed and what has remained the same about Prison Break?
Wentworth Miller: “I can’t speak to how it’s all been put together because I haven’t seen it, but Paul Scheuring who wrote the pilot and got the whole thing started, I think has a very edgy, topical feature sensibility. I trust that that would be infused in these new episodes, and it was. I think what fans can look forward to is more of the same, more of what they loved the first time. Themes of family, brotherhood, loyalty, sacrifice but with some interesting new twists and turns that feel very, very present day.”
What is it about Michael Scofield that you respect so much?
Wentworth Miller: “Well, he certainly challenges me as an actor, physically, mentally, emotionally. Michael Scofield is a demanding part. He’s always MacGyvering something, being throttled or scurrying through a drain pipe. It’s a very active and proactive character. I like the fact that his struggle is human. He’s a good man trying to do good and in the process does some not so great things. I think that’s what makes him identifiable and relatable on a human level, while still also having a slightly comic book/superhero quality where he can endure certain things that your average person could not. It’s one of the things that the fans enjoy watching on screen is him go through these trials.”
How has your relationship with Dominic evolved?
Wentworth Miller: “We have a natural rhythm and chemistry at this point that just shows up organically in whatever relationship we’re meant to be playing on screen. It’s one of the things that serves us Captain Cold and Heatwave on Legends and The Flash. It’s certainly one of the things at the heart of the Prison Break experience.”
Can you tease a little bit about the new tattoos? What’s Michael’s relationship with his son going to be?
Wentworth Miller: “I have a new set of tattoos. They’re central to the story. They’re used in a different way than they were the first time around. That much I can say. As far as the son that Michael has never met, it’s a source of ongoing pain and longing and angst for him to know that his child is out there somewhere and he’s never even held his son in his arms. We do tease in interesting ways how Michael Scofield’s son is definitely Michael Scofield’s son.”
Are the tattoos less intensive than the full body work done on previous seasons?
Wentworth Miller: “I didn’t think so going in. I thought it would be easier this time around because there are less of them, but we have to apply them every day as opposed to the original series, it was one application per episode. It actually worked out to be just as intensive as a process.”
Watch the Wentworth Miller interview: